Much too often athletes get caught up in the physical aspect of training and find themselves neglecting the proper nutrients to build physically. Powerful eating plays a major factor in sports performance, so these meals are meant to be examples of a supreme goaltender’s diet; however, an athlete’s diet should not be limited to these items – variety is everything!
This photo illustrates some outstanding foods that are sure to increase on-ice and off-ice performance. I encourage you to incorporate some of these items into your diet and see how they make you feel on game day
From meals like these, goaltenders should be consuming 2500 to 3500 calories per day based on age and stature. Calorie ranges during intense training can easily exceed 3500 calories which is why we must use our best judgment of energy and fullness as a scale. The more lean muscle tissue a goalie has, the more energy required for performances. The division of these calories specifically looks like the following:
- Carbohydrates make up 55 to 65% of the diet. Complex carbohydrates, which are whole grains and nutrient dense, break down into glucose for energy. Glucose is used as a primary source of energy when muscles are triggered in vigorous ways. This is why it is important to consume carbohydrate dense meals the day before a game followed by a light carbohydrate meal 3 to 5 hours pre-game. You deserve calories as an athlete – carbs make you crafty between the pipes!
- Essential fats and oils make up 15 to 25% of the diet. These fats come from items like nuts, unrefined oils, and seafoods like the salmon above. The calories from fat are essential because they will be used in the latter parts of the 2nd and the 3rd periods. When carbohydrate stores reach a certain point, the body conserves glucose for use by the brain. At this time, the body turns to fat stores for energy. You need a fuel reserve – fats help you finish!
- Protein makes up 20 to 30% of the diet – Sources of protein provide the body with essential amino acids that can only come from food. These amino acids are the building blocks of muscle and help the body recover after tough events. The body can also use protein as energy, even though this process is less common. For all this to happen, goaltenders need around 1.5 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (Escott-Stump 41). Keep track of your protein intake – play under pressure with power!
- Lastly and importantly, fluid levels will make or break a competitive performance. Goalies must make sure they are consuming adequate amounts of fluids and electrolytes to maintain a healthy balance. The simplest way to calculate fluid needs is to consume 1 milliliter per calorie consumed; this would mean goalies need 2500 to 3500 ml of fluids each day (Nelms 130). Then we must consider the loss of fluids through sweating and systemic body functions. Drink 2 cups of water a few hours before an event and another 1 to 2 cups just before the event starts (Escott-stump 42). Make sure you calculate your fluid needs – hydration keeps you healthy! Note: You will get your electrolytes through a balanced diet. Sports drinks with caffeine and added sugar actually cause dehydration by pulling water out of the cells. If you want optimum hydration, keep it simple and consume water...you’ll save some money too!
I hope you consider these game changing recommendations in the upcoming hockey seasons. Performance in net is determined by many factors on and off the ice, and the elite goaltender displays discipline by working on all dimensions of his or her game. Have fun and get creative with your unique calorie needs. Do not limit yourself to the foods listed above, and keep being a student of the game. I’ve also included some links below to help you on this journey! Until next time feel free to contact me with specific questions or comment below. I enjoy hearing from you!
University of North Dakota
Nelms, Marcia, and Kathryn Sucher. “Chapter 7 Fluid and Electrolyte Balance.” Nutrition Therapy and Pathophysiology. 3rd ed. N.p.: Cengage Learning, n.d. 130. Print.
Escott-Stump, Sylvia. “Sports Nutrition.” Nutrition and Diagnosis-related Care. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012. 39-44. Print.